Monday, November 18, 2013

Sienna's lip tie

Since the day Sienna was born, our breastfeeding journey was nothing like I envisioned. It was torture. With every feeding attempt we were both crying with frustration. Why wouldn't she stay latched on for more than a minute?? She was obviously hungry. I was so confused as to why she just would not do it. Isn't this suppose to be second nature to us both? I saw every Lactation consultant before leaving the hospital, seeked advice from every mom friend and sobbed to the pediatrician looking for answers.

Nobody could figure out what the issue was, nobodys advice was effective. So I pumped exclusively for almost a full year. Looking back now I still can't fathom how on earth I did that - it was some serious devotion I tell ya. I hope to never ever have to do that again.

Fast forward to about a month ago.
I randomly decided to look in Siennas mouth to see if there are any new teeth spouting and took note of the gap between her 2 front teeth...hmmm I wondered why she had it thinking that such things are genetic and since no one in the family has it why should she? I noticed that there was a significant amount of tissue between the two teeth and of course jumped onto Google right away trying to figure this out.

Sure enough everything pointed to lip tie, 
I compared every Google image photo of random kids cases & they looked very similar to hers. As soon as Danny got home, we took her to the 'best' Pediatric dentist in the valley with an opening that same day.  Thanks Google.

The dentist did in fact confirm that it was lip tie. Apparently its hereditatry, I know that all of my siblings and I had tongue tie which its a similar issue...perhaps thats where the genetics stepped in. We were given the option of doing the procedure right there on the spot, its quick and almost completely painless...the only issue was, you don't get put out for it. How do you make an 18 month old sit through that without holding them down? Something I wasn't going to bare doing unless it was an issue effecting her majorly. Of course the dentist pushed for it. Yet there is a very good chance the gap will close when her adult teeth come in, and the only thing it was majorly affecting was breast feeding and since we are past that...whats really the point of putting her through a traumatic experience like that?

I'm not a big interventionist, and I don't hold much trust in the medical establishment. I don't usually rush to the doctor for every little thing, but I was pretty angry, I needed confirmation after everything I read that day....I couldn't believe that her pediatrician never thought to check for that knowing of our breast feeding struggle. All i know is that when our next baby comes along...its the first thing I'm checking for.

Here is a little info incase you're wondering what lip tie is.

What is an upper lip-tie?
An upper lip-tie is where a piece of skin under the baby’s upper lip (the labial frenulum) is very short or thick and is pinned too tightly to the upper gum. This can restrict movement of the upper lip preventing it from being able to flange or ‘pull out’. This can make it difficult for babies to attach to the breast correctly as it is harder for them to maintain a good seal. In older children and adolescents, an upper lip-tie can be associated with a gap between the front teeth. Generally this is only a cosmetic issue. However, it can make it difficult for a baby to breastfeed.

What problems are connected to lip & tongue ties?
One of the first and foremost problems connected to tongue ties is breastfeeding issues. Many babies with tongue ties can't get a proper latch and hurt the mother, and may not stimulate the milk to come in properly. Many mothers whose babies have tongue ties give up breastfeeding right from the start, or stop after a little bit when their milk dries up because milk production works by supply and demand, and a bad latch can cause milk production to drop once its no longer regulated by the post birth hormone rush.
My siblings all had tongue ties, and we all, every one of us, had problems with nursing. My mother's milk dried up between 3 months and a year for all of us, and that was with pumping to keep up her supply.
Being able to nurse your children long term for a decent length of time (at least until a year old, ideally until 2 years old) is very beneficial for your children's long term health, not to mention pocket book, as breastmilk is much, much cheaper than formula (even once you factor in the cost of a pump and bottles if necessary, tongue tie snipping, and a lactation consultant).


  1. I recently noticed Rilyn has a lip tie as well. My niece also had it and my sister said as all her teeth filled in they slowly moved closer and broke the lip tie. It's funny though because the whole reason I "investigated" was because I could NOT understand how my child has SOOO many top teeth yet you can't see them when she smiles. So I went looking at her chompers and realized it! I don't know if I could put her through the procedure either, but they did tell you it is painless?

    1. According to the dentist its painless because its done with a laser, but the fact that they have to be held down is the killer.

  2. As soon as you posted your first picture of your daughters lip tie on IG, I looked at my daughter and realized that she had one as well. I am a pediatric nurse and this is not something that I ever looked for before. I began to ask a lot of questions and was able to go to a really informative meeting about Lip and Tounge ties. I have found that not only are they linked to breasfeeding problems like you had, but they are also liked to excessive vomiting, reflux and colic. My daughter was able to breasfeed, but she spit up at least 6 oz a day and had horrible reflux and colic until about 9 months. I have also learned that about 90% of kids that have a lip tie also have a posterior tounge tie, they tend to be hard to diagnose.
    My MD said that there is nothing to do for my daughter at the moment because we are done breastfeeding, but when she is older and gets braces we will need to laser the lip tie to help her teeth not gap as well as help decrease cavities. I was just instructed to really keep her teeth as clean as I can right now because she can't rub her tounge over them like most kids can.
    I am so sorry that no one found your daughters lip tie sooner. I am told that Lactation should be looking for all of the types of ties as soon as there is a problem with latch.
    Thanks for sharing all of the information that you have learned. We are expecting number 2 and you can bet that the first thing I will be looking for is a lip tie, and if the next baby has one it will be taken care of right away.



Your sweet words always make my day! :) Thank you.